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Indonesia Seeking Fifth Freedom Air Rights

Onward Passenger Rights Seen as Critical to Expanding Indonesia's International Air Network.

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On the heels of the new [Open Skies for Indonesia and the U.S.A.], the Indonesian Government is seeking to expand multi-lateral air agreements by securing fifth freedom traffic rights from various countries in the northern hemisphere.

Fifth Freedoms are the air traffic permissions granted to a country that allow the carriage of passengers and cargo to and from another airline's flag state both to the granting nation and to onward destinations in a third country. For example, a joint agreement between Indonesia, Japan and the United States to allow passengers and cargo to move between gateways in all three destinations represents the granting of fifth freedom air rights.

Statements made by senior aviation officials at a recent seminar in Jakarta suggest that Indonesia will approach a number of countries, including Japan, Korea and Thailand to negotiate fifth freedom rights and open the way for Indonesian air carriers to operate commercially viable long-haul scheduled flights to the United States with intermediate stops in one of those countries.

Given the considerable distances involved for flights between Indonesia and the U.S.A., the ability to disembark and embark passengers at intermediate ports-of-call are seen as necessary to maintain profitable load factors.

The national carrier Garuda Indonesia is unlikely to start services to the U.S.A. anytime in the near future due to its current program of massive route reductions, which has effectively rendered what was once the largest international airline in the southern hemisphere into what is today essentially a regional carrier. While unable or unwilling to undertake long haul routes in its current condition, Garuda may decide to enter into code-sharing agreements with a major U.S. carrier in order to maintain a commercial presence on the potentially lucrative Indonesia-U.S.A. routes.

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